I decided to share what exactly I do when I create graphic art or cover art. Granted, I can't show you everything because that would give away too many secrets but I wanted to show you some of the process. I do this because I have actually heard a few authors say, "Cover art shouldn't be expensive--it's easy". Yes, cover art is easy if you don't do it right. Also, keep in mind a cover is not an image of a sexy dude or couple with words on it. But I'll get to that in another post. For now, let's see the finished product:
This is Ursula, the sea witch from Disney's "The Little Mermaid". She doesn't look like the cartoon character and that's because I thought the cartoon character was a tad bit insulting. So, only skinny, young girls can have a happy ending? Sorry, that's another tangent. Getting back to the art piece...I wanted to show Ursula as a sad woman. Perhaps this was her right after her world was turned upside down, when she no longer had friends, just before her misery turned her into a ball of hatred.
Anyway, my interpretation of Ursula used the following images:
Can you see them all in the final product? I wanted to first start out with a woman in a mermaid costume so I could better get the feel of what that combination would look like.
I first combined the mermaid, the octopus, and set up her pet eels:
The next step was to add her ink. This would prove difficult because the art piece was already dark. I took the image of the fog, inverted it, and got black fog. I added that, added some light and here is that product:
Next, it was time to gray everything out. The art piece was becoming far too blue and losing the feel I wanted. I colored in gray so I could better see the highlights and shadows. There were certain parts of the tentacles I wanted shown and certain parts hidden. I also had to make sure everyone could tell the eels were not coming out from her body as the dark colors could blend in together.
Once I realized what it was I wanted to highlight, I then began to add color once more. I still wanted the gray feel but I needed some harsh contrast and I wanted some of the blue back.
Next, I added more color--this time green. I went with a Lomo style type of coloring because I love the depressed feel of it. It would be perfect for this art piece. I also added in another image to give more texture.
I know I only showed you six steps, but I have 76 layers for this piece. If you've ever worked in Photoshop, then you know you need many layers to make an art piece.
I hope this has been enlightening and although I didn't show you everything I do, which would give away far too many trade secrets, I hope authors learned that creating art isn't easy just like writing a great book isn't easy. It takes time and effort. There is a great deal of work involved but just like writing, it's still really fun!